In addition to conventional hearing aids, a wide range of implantable hearing aids (also called middle ear implants, MEI) is available today. Recipients can improve their audiological outcome using one of these systems, but a number of medical and audiological candidate selection criteria apply. Moreover, the intervention’s success depends on whether the candidates were selected in designated centres where all medical and audiological aspects were taken into account. The Department of Otorhinolaryngology at MHH, which has long-standing experience going back to 1997, is one of the world’s leading centres in this field.
The following criteria may help to determine candidacy for implantable hearing aids:
- Problems with the ear canal: recurring inflammation of the ear canal caused by earmoulds or ear canal malformations (such as stenosis, exostosis, etc.)
- No occlusion effect (which is caused by blocking of the ear canal)
- Sound conduction hearing loss and combined hearing loss induced by various conditions (e.g. ear canal atresia or missing middle ear structures, chronic otitis media with or without eardrum perforation, radical cavity, otosclerosis, etc.)
- Wearing comfort and social aspects
Implantable hearing aids can be divided into partially and fully implantable systems. Partially implantable systems include BAHA, Vibrant Soundbridge®. Carina® is a fully implantable system. A partially implantable MEI consists of an externally worn audio processor and an implant, while a fully implantable MEI is placed completely beneath the skin.
You will find further information and design options if you click on the links to the manufacturers’ websites.